Skip to main content

PJ Fleck compares Gophers' 'line of success' to the stock market

Fleck and the Gophers have a shot to earn a trip to a bowl game but they have to beat Wisconsin on Saturday.
  • Author:
  • Publish date:

Being consistently good to great is not the expectation Gophers football fans should have, according to head coach P.J. Fleck, who on Monday – following a 37-3 drubbing at the hands of Ohio State on Saturday – compared the line of success for most college teams to the stock market. 

"The line of is a jagged line. It looks like the stock market. And some programs, their jagged line is all the way at the top and it's just a little squiggly, but there aren't deep valleys and there are always high peaks, but there are dips," Fleck said. 

"Winning's hard. It's really hard. We've had some really close wins, we've had some really close losses. We've had some unbelievable wins and some heartbreaking losses," Fleck continued. "All of that is teaching these guys lessons, teaching our coaches lessons. Finding ways to be able to do it better and grow and learn from the lessons of why."

The linear line of success can be viewed through total wins and losses. The Gophers went 5-7 in Fleck's first year in 2017 and then the line ticked up to a 7-6 in 2018 before a burst to 11-2 in 2019. The 2020 season can be wiped off the map because of COVID, and Fleck followed up with back-to-back 9-4 seasons in 2021 and 2022. 

The jagged line this season has dipped to a 5-6 record. Where it goes in 2024 is to be determined, but there's no question the Gophers will face stiff competition against the likes of North Carolina, Iowa, Michigan, USC, UCLA, Penn State and Wisconsin making up the bulk of the schedule. That alone is a threat to take this year's dip in the "line of success" and turn 2024 into a full blown crash. 

Fleck is 49-33 overall since arriving at Minnesota in 2017. The two teams the Gophers get compared to most are Wisconsin and Iowa. The Badgers are 57-28 since 2017 and the Hawkeyes are 60-25. 

Whatever the case, Fleck remains optimistic about the opportunity to coach. 

"The one thing that I think I'm very grateful for is I've had a lot of experiences that we've had some hard years, a lot of hard years. But we've had some historic years. you reflect on those hard years and you know why you have those and I think you're trained in how to fix those and how to make them better into the future, and that's what we're doing," Fleck said. 

Minnesota plays Wisconsin the last act of the regular season at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.